I once heard that your greatest strength will always have the tendency to be your greatest weakness. I immediately connected that sentiment to my words, and it’s held true. While I can say some brilliant things, I also have the ability to stick both feet all the way in my mouth. And here’s the thing – when the dumb, hurtful or negative remarks leave my lips, more happens than just a slap of my hand to my head. I shut down. I feel guilty and ashamed. I replay the scene over and over in my mind like a courtroom where I am defendant, prosecutor, judge and jury. And let me tell you…I’m a brutal litigator. Prosecution wins every time, and I sentence myself to hard time.
This exact scenario played out this week when I made a comment at the office. I won’t tell you what I said because that’s not the important part. The important part is this – until 4pm Monday afternoon, I was convinced that God called me to real estate to shine His light to those around me. I was sure of my calling and confident in my position. After my mistake, though, I was anything but the picture of confidence. I was overrun with questions, confusion and doubt. Surely God didn’t call me to be an example of Him when I can so quickly offend someone with my words. Surely He would be better off if I say nothing – ever – to anyone. Surely those around me would be better, too. And in that brief moment, Satan won.
We read in the Bible about “the destroyer” – this evil being that we picture with a pitchfork and horns. We hear him described as a lion roaming around, seeking those to devour. But it’s much less cheesy and cartoonish than that. Satan doesn’t need a pitchfork or a lion costume. All he needs is for me to beat myself up just enough that I’ll do what I did on Monday. If I convince myself that God can’t use me, then the people around me never have the hope of seeing how much He loves them. If I hide behind my faults and fears, I’ve done nothing. And really, that’s all Satan needs. He just doesn’t want people to know Jesus. That’s all.
It’s two days later, and I’m still thinking about my mistake. But today my thoughts are a little different. Instead of guilt and shame, I feel repentant. Lesson learned, point taken. I am not perfect (not a shocker). I messed up because that’s who I am – I’m human and fallible. I was imperfect when God first loved me and I’ll continue to be imperfect. But instead of this being about me, it’s always been about Him. And that’s why I decided to write this morning. I was talking to God and He assured me that I’m not alone. That you, too, feel like you aren’t quite good enough, smart enough or whatever enough. Don’t stay in that place, though. I’m a much better example of His love if people know I’m just as messed up as they are. He can use me so much more if I’m real. And the same is true for you. People don’t need a sermon. They don’t need to be yelled at. They need to watch me live life, make mistakes and keep looking to God.
I apologized to my friend at work. I asked God to forgive me. The only thing left to do is pick up my pride and keep going. Wanna join me?